Indy 500 Favorites And Candidates Feeling The Need For Speed

Indy 500 Favorites And Candidates Feeling The Need For Speed

Like Main Street parades and family cookouts, the Indianapolis 500 is a staple of Memorial Day weekend. The race revs up the engines Sunday, May 29 on NBC.

The race is the sixth race on the IndyCar Series calendar, but it’s the big one. This will be the 106th running of what is called the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” It’s 200 laps and 500 miles. It takes about two to three hours and ends with the winner chugging milk and kissing the bricks.

The IndyCar Series doesn’t have the same fan base as NASCAR or Formula One, which has exploded in popularity, but it’s still a grand tradition.

Actor Miles Teller is the honorary starter. They still sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” before the race, and if that doesn’t choke you up, nothing will.

There are numerous ways to bet on the Indiana race, not just whether your driver wins, but where they might finish and who they will beat head-to-head.

Here are the favorites to win the checkered flag Sunday:

Scott Dixon

Remember, it’s a race, and having the fastest car is usually a safe bet. Dixon won the pole for the fifth time in his career and set a track record in qualifying at 234.046 miles per hour. The 41-year-old lived in Indianapolis and won the Indy 500 in 2008.

Will Power

Yes, we know, it’s an amazing name for a racecar driver. Power currently ranks first in the IndyCar Series points list. The Australian-born Power raced for Team Penske and won the Indy 500 in 2018. He will start in Row 4.

Alex Palou

He’s a new IndyCar Series star who is the defending series champion. He had the second-fastest car in qualifying and started next to Dixon in the front row. This will be his third Indy 500. He was 28th as a rookie in 2020 and second last year by a half-second.

Josef Newgarden

I’m surprised Newgarden hasn’t gotten more love from the sportsbooks. Newgarden is from Nashville, and the 31-year-old has two wins this season on the circuit and five Top 5 finishes. He won the IndyCar Series title in 2017 and 2019. He’s starting in the middle of Row 5.

Helio Castroneves

The Brazilian-born Castroneves is the biggest star in the field. He’s a “Dancing With the Stars” champion. Need I say more? The 47-year-old is trying to become the first driver to win five Indy 500s. However, he has not had a good year. So far, his best finish was ninth at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, and he’s 18th in the points standings.

Marcus Ericsson

The Swede has a prime starting spot right in the middle of Row 2, but he’s never been higher than 11th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in three starts. He was fourth at the Grand Prix (road course) of Indianapolis and third at the Grand Prix of Texas.

Jimmie Johnson

Yes, that Jimmie Johnson, the winner of seven NASCAR Cup Series titles, has shifted to driving IndyCars full time at age 46. He’s run 17 races over the last two IndyCar seasons and has not been a factor. He’s 22nd in the series standings but will start on Row 4 Sunday. He will get a lot of attention Sunday, though, for his reputation.

Indianapolis 500 fast facts

Get it, fast facts?

The race started in 1906, but this is the 106th running. The race was postponed six times because of World War I and World War II.
There are seven rookies on the field Sunday.
There are eight former champs in the field (Castroneves, Power, Dixon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Tony Kanaan, Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato, and Simon Pagenaud).
Four drivers have won the Indy 500 four times: AJ Foyt, Rick Mears, Big Al Unser (not to be confused with Little Al), and Castroneves.
The closest race was in 1992 when Little Al Unser beat Scott Goodyear by a blink, .043 seconds.
Winners have the option of chugging whole milk, 2% milk or skim. They can also get buttermilk or chocolate milk. The drink became a tradition in 1936 as drivers wanted something refreshing after a long drive.

Author: Tyler Gutierrez